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Kiss My Face Products: All Natural or Not?

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At heart, I consider myself a naturalist.  For instance, when I choose foods to eat, I tend to opt for those that are minimally processed and have no additives, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals.  And when possible, I will buy organic.  This also holds true for personal care products, such as make-up and skin care.  In the last year or so, I’ve made a significant effort to avoid buying products that have fillers, preservatives and parabens.  Unlike food products, however, there really aren’t any industry standards around labeling products as organic or all-natural in the personal care market.  So, for the most part, you have to do your research.

In my quest for keeping personal care products as natural as possible, I’ve discovered certain brands and product companies that I like and as a result, stick with.  A few include: Cosmedix, Burt’s Bees and Kiss My Face.  Cosmedix is great for skin care, Burt’s Bees is great for moisturizing my hands and body and Kiss My Face has been the shower products ‘go to brand’ for the last few months.

In researching products, I read the list of ingredients and if I find anything that I don’t know, are animal based, are artificial scents or colors, or are parabens, I take a pass.  Parabens, in particular, I avoid, as they tend to be very drying and irritating to my skin.  When I first found Kiss My Face, I was attracted to their slogan ‘Obsessively Organic’.  I bought their shampoo and conditioner products and was pleased to see that their products contain ‘no sls or parabens,’ as stated on the bottles. They also smell great and don’t over-dry my hair.  A couple of months later, I discovered that Kiss My Face also made Body Wash.  Without thinking twice, I grabbed a bottle and was glad to have found another product by a company I trusted.

Yesterday, however, as I was loading up my loofah with the Body Wash, I noticed the slogan didn’t say ‘Obsessively Organic’, but rather ‘Obsessively Natural’.  My interest piqued, I looked at the ingredient list and to my dismay, noticed, as big as life, ‘Methylparaben and Propylparaben’ listed.  Not more than two inches below this, was the following statement ‘This product contains no animal ingredients, no PARABENS or artificial colors and was not tested on animals.’  Huh?  Ummm…not sure I quite understand this one: As clear as day, they list two parabens in the list of ingredients and then outright contradict themselves by saying the product doesn’t contain parabens!  Wow. Call me crazy, but that sounds like really bad editing.

I’m not a chemical or bio-chemical engineer, but this sounds pretty misleading to me.  Yes, methylparaben can be found naturally in blueberries and propylparaben can be found naturally in plants and insects, but when they are used in products, more often than not, they are synthetically derived.  Regardless, the label blatantly states the product doesn’t contain ‘parabens,’ yet, it does – regardless of where they came from.

So what is my point?  Read your labels. Product companies are very quick to make claims that don’t really hold true.  Be careful and read the fine print.

Have you had any disappointing label discoveries?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Eco-Living, Reviews Tagged with: , , , ,
  • Jasc

    Organic is definately the way to go. There are some great organic hair products out there. Sometimes though, if you have a break out problem, there are products which work well, and cause almost no irritation.

  • Wendy

    I had a violent allergic reaction to a Kiss My Face product…maybe this is why.

  • Jaime

    Dr. Bronners is always a safe go to for body wash. For face wash and moisturizer, try Kimberly Sayer products.

  • Mary

    I have seen COUNTLESS times where these writers talk about cancer, carcinogens, etc. when it’s prominently and easily able to dispel or prove through the CDC and numerous other government websites. Not to mention that the government regulated many ingredients to use their scientific names rather than generic or recognizable names – for example, vitamin E has to be phased out as an ingredient over the next few years, in place of it’s scientific name – tocopheral. I’m so sick and tired of the “pronounce it” and “too scienc-y” argument from snake oil peddlers. As a cosmetic and bath and body sole owner manufacturer with my own business, too often companies that produce the same type of same ingredients I do, talk about “can you say it” arguments, when they are actually BREAKING THE LAW in using words like shea butter or vitamin E and that I follow the law by using INCI names. Or that anyone can label anything “all natural”. It’s even worse when writers as dumb as this one just perpetuate the myth, screwing over companies following the law in favor of those who are breaking labeling laws. For example a paraben that is plant derivative is very easy to incorporate into recipes. If you have NO PRESERVATIVE, you are smearing BACTERIA all over your body. Period. You can make an all natural anything, but if you have no preservative, the item harbors bacterias, mold, mildew, etc. that can make you seriously ill. Much worse than the .000001% that you may get cancer from a shampoo. You have a better chance to get hit by lightning TWICE before contracting cancer from parabens. You also can get cancer from inhaling plastic particles in cellphones in a very very very miniscule .00001% chance. How many are tossing their cellphones?

    It gets worse and worse with articles like these, that talk about how awful this and that is, or how “organic” they want – when they don’t even realize there are NO laws on labeling something Natural, putting the label “Organic” on bath and body or cosmetics, you can use with less than 50% of the final product being natural. I can slap organic or natural on acid and sell it, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. If you really care, do you research on each ingredient through the GOVERNMENT websites – not sites trying to sell you something, branded or have advertisements on them.

    • Brett

      Mary,
      you are right. There are no regulations on bath and body products. This article points that out. It is a real problem that needs to be addressed. A great source of info is http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/splash.php?URI=%2Findex.php

    • Christine Frisbee

      I just got this Google Allert as I write a blog about natural and organic products http://TheseareGreat.com. It may be of interest to you and your readers. Thanks for your post.

      Law360, Chicago (September 27, 2013, 7:49 PM ET) — A California federal judge on Thursday refused to toss a putative false advertising class action against a cosmetics company that allegedly misrepresented its products as organic, rejecting the company’s argument that the claims were preempted by federal law.

      In a court order, U.S. District Judge John A. Houston denied Kiss My Face LLC’s motion to dismiss the suit, which claims the company’s use of the phrase “obsessively organic” to describe its shampoo, hand cremes, moisturizers and other products duped consumers thinking the products were organic….

      • brettblumenthal

        Thanks so much! Interesting share.

  • Sheila

    Overall, the article is well-written, helpful and informative but your spelling of the phrase ‘my interest was peeked’ is incorrect. Correctly spelled, the phrase should be ‘my interest was piqued’, unless of course your interest was actually looking around the corner of the shower at you. It’s quite probable that the error occurred due to the use of a spell checking program but you, or your editor if you have one, should be more careful when reading your work prior to publication. I know it seems trivial but the spelling of our language has been butchered for years in advertising and entertainment leading to a deplorable lack of spelling ability among the youth of this country. Thank you very much for the indulgence and thank you also for the useful information.

    • Brett

      Sheila…thanks for the comment. We do sometimes miss things…so we always appreciate when someone catches something and brings it to our attention!

  • Mary

    Brett – first kudos and thanks for posting my comment, it’s rather brash. It’s a hot topic for me because I make these items from scratch and so many of the “big guys” and even start up guys make claims they cannot back up, but they don’t have to either. When the FDA Regulations were being proposed in Congress, many small and big businesses I’m in contact with were totally against it. It actually scared me to wonder why! I don’t make a ton of money, I do it because I like it. I get to be creative and my house always smells wonderful. But, it didn’t pass after lobbyists from Johnson and Johnson, even organizations of small businesses picked a rep to go and speak against it… it died.

    I digress – the people against this makes me worried about consumer trickery and safety. It would have created a database of businesses who create, would have allowed some government oversight into cosmetic and B&B claims, allowed them to check into your facility and what you do to decontaminate before production (which I’m almost positive that 80% of home based sellers do not even DO), and would have been able to step in with the large companies and keep them from using products or material grades that aren’t safe. While I don’t mention following other countries often, several of Europe’s countries must follow a banned ingredient list.

    While I’m against a lot of government meddling, currently, I can bottle up some battery acid and call it a skin rejuvenation product! Why are people fighting making it mandatory to NOT sell snake oil?

    To expand on my point about preservatives, since I was a bit vague, certain parabens are completely safe for you as you noted being plant derivative, depending. However, chemically created parabens, believe it or not are regulated (in production, not in application use) and can be safer than those of plant derivatives. It is required in almost all B&B applications, but we must remember, not everything is toxic, and what is, may not even remotely come close to a dangerous level. But that’s where regulation could come in and put a limit on the exact preservatives, AND make sure people aren’t “over preserving” their products. People can OD and die on water too.

    Interesting side fact: All soaps and shampoos at the store, that are mass produced, are NOT soap by definition. They are detergents, which is why so many are irritated by their use. (I’m allergic to “soap” from the store, which is what led me to make my own.) The ingredient list, while many items are safe, in combination are basically a body stripper of all oils so you “feel” clean. And they can label it however they want. And yes, you can actually put paraben free on an item and stick parabens in it anyways. If the percentage is low enough, you are allowed to label it “proprietary blend” and stick whatever you want in there. Or, in a roundabout way, you can stick parabens, or whatever you want, into your fragrance medium and then just label it as fragrance without ever disclosing what you put in there.

    While I respect your source, it’s considered invalid by many scientific sources. For several reasons, one – it’s not comprehensive, two – it’s a private entity that also is funded by a cosmetics company who listed their items as favorable. It also doesn’t include in favored cosmetics all the ingredients. Three, it doesn’t compare what is found in cosmetics versus what is dangerous. Four, it contains outdated information to scare people – like mercury in mascara being one of their most popular notations, it’s true if you may be in India, but it’s banned in use in American cosmetics. It’s also banned in Canada, and most of Europe for use. It’s based off data from the 1970’s. Lastly, it’s outdated on many of it’s products (rightly so, it’s impossible to keep up with billions of cosmetic and B&B products) and a lot have reformulated over the last 10 years. (Similarly, in candle production, many companies scare people about lead wicks, but they have been banned for years and years and can lie to people about ANY metal must be lead. Where zinc is now the metal used in wicking.)

    One of it’s “listed” toxic ingredients is SLA and SLSa. Both of which if you eat them, yes are toxic. BUT, they are in every application, are not on any banned lists and the amount in B&B applications are marked SAFE by the CDC and even the FDA. (SLSa is a bubble agent.) SLSa in it’s purest and powder form is dangerous, but a whole 10lb. bag of it is needed to be toxic (and you have to ingest it), less than 1/8 tsp is used on average per 8oz. bottle of the products and it’s dispersed. Unless you drink your soaps or shampoos and can down around 300oz. in a day, then it’s a safe product.

    If you actually go through some of their ingredients listed as dangerous, they are not even a part of some of the products listed, or when you search on government sites, they’ve outright lied about the dangers of certain chemicals and additives. They cite no sources for their information – just use the word “studies”.

    For example, they’ve listed sodium chloride as dangerous in some products and presents a dire situation for some products. If you click on the actual name, within their own database it states it’s safe. Do you know what sodium chloride is? Salt. They list it as cancerous in some products!!!

    This is exactly the point on why we need to be vigilant, but cautious of sites we use to gather our data in articles. It hurts small people like me, who did their research to put out safe products, but my podium is much smaller than yours. The bigger the podium, the bigger the audience and it’s hard to fight the good fight, while maintaining integrity when I’ve had people actually threaten me and say they will sue me for use of certain ingredients which are completely safe and not harmful – like salt. I follow the INCI labeling list – I had a woman tell me her daughter almost died from using a product of mine… made of epsom and sea salts. She claimed she found that sodium chloride was on the label and her daughter had almost stopped breathing! I tried to explain to her and ask her if she used salt in her food, but she swore up and down, that she found on the internet it does X, Y, and Z. Now just imagine what this woman could have done if she was actually mentally insane! The one law I have to follow is to allow my address to be posted and when I label the products, I have to list the city and state of production.

    As a last note, because people get scared of so many things, and we are living in a libel happy place, insurance for even the little guys almost negates profit at this point. Many of my friends in the small business arena have been sued and they won, but the legal bills to defend still pile up – all because of the misinformation out there.

    Again, thanks for the dialogue and sorry for the novella!! Now you can see why these topics are so near and dear to me! Hopefully, I’ve done a little more in the way to help someone along the path.

  • Praky

    Woaw…..this is really an amazing article!..thanks to the author for publishing it and being so descriptive and perceptive enough to notice the “Organic” slogan change, as well as the ingredients’ apparent contradiction with the label.

    There seems to be, not only a plethora of ingredients/chemicals/additives, but also so many various ‘forms’ and types of one chemical that its exhausting to keep track of them all, as per there properties, uses, contraindications, and conflicting research on how safe they are.

    Im quite skeptical as to whether any label that contains more than 7or8 ingredients, (especially when they are in chemical jargon)..actually tell the truth about what’s actually contained in the product. They would perhaps just find the most environmentally and user
    friendly-sounding words to use for their labeling..thus being misleading.

    It seems two ways of helping to determine authentically organic products are:
    1) Determine that the product is not mass produced. This is because specialty/small/niche product companies/producers, while they may sell more costly, tend to be more realistically able and wiling to source and use relatively scarce organic and beneficial ingredients to fulfill the details of their products and more personalized clientele. They would also care a lot about their reputation, because if just a few of their customers leave, that could mean a large percentage of their total customer base. Also, they may be more willing and flexible enough to adapt to changing wants/criteria of their customer base, while standing Firm on their totally “organic” bottomline

    2) Try to get a tour/understanding of HOW the product is actually being made (as processing of an ingredient can alter its efficacy); and where it’s ingredients come from…..as the “where” can also make a difference. For example, Brazil nuts are said to contain a high amount of the mineral Selenium, but that’s if the soil contains sufficient selenium in the first place. So if you are using/eating Brazil nuts because of its noted high natural Selenium content, it would help to know where your Brazil nuts were grown (Bolivia, Brazil, etc)..and as to the average soil selenium content there

    3) Research the company and any connections (sponsors, brands, endorsements, news publications, owner and his/her prior work experience, etc) it/the owner has with other products and services. This would help validate any claims made by the company, as you would then begin to notice a trend of the company’s history, performance, and genuine intentions (with your discretion). Doing this could seem tedious, but if you’re satisfied with the outcome, you can feel relatively confident in buying from the company later on, without some of the paranoia involved..(but still read and question your labels)

    Please continue to make your points and express your careful views on this and any matter….online or wherever..it is important..Take care

  • Ann marie

    I am big ingredient reader. My hubby complains that I take too long to go shopping. But you have to these days, I don’t trust any of them any more. I use to be a big Aveda fan but some of their ingredients are questionable. I have the hairspray nonaerosol and it has dimethicone and benzyl benzoate. Not good! I have yet to really find any product that is completely safe and works well. I am a fan of Burt’s but only certain things, I have a sensitive to menthol. When you find the perfect product, please let us know!

  • crystal

    wow thats cray. how can they do that? doesnt the fda check for those things. i definetly think that using organic, recycled,used and vegan products are great and better for the enviorment. i will look at the labels now.

  • Mary

    Ann Marie – dimethecone for use in B&B products is completely formulated differently than the types used that are used for items like auto lubricants. The production for use in B&B and cosmetics is regulated. The manufacturer themselves determine levels and concentrates. Dimethecone is a silcone in essence. You’ll find it in every Bath and Body Works lotion because it gives the illusion of feeling like you’ve gotten a good softened skin. It’s also a carrier in lip balms for companies like Chapstick and Carmex, they do not have to disclose it at the levels needed for lip balms and chapsticks. When I make my chapstick, it’s only butters, vitamin E and such. It wears off faster but for example, my aunt works in front of a fire grill all day and she claims it’s the only thing that gives lasting protection.

    It’s not dangerous at the highest levels IF they use the cosmetic grade dimethecone. It’s not a hazardous material either. A good search on some of the “scary” products out there, will reveal that there is a difference between cosmetic grade and commercial grade.

    Non-aerosol hairspray is good based on the lack of chemicals needed to push the hairspray, but there are other chemicals in non-aerosol to keep it from clogging the spray pump, and alcohol is a medium of choice for many (that does NOT have to be cosmetic grade for hairspray) to help it spread evenly. Trading off doesn’t always equal better for you.

    Crystal – there are NO regulations for B&B products by ANY company. Organic can be on ANYTHING because technically, ALL chemicals are organic. It’s how it’s processed that determines it’s use. Recycled logos are popular, but you can use as little as 10% post consumer contect to use the full logo. Vegan products aren’t regulated either and most often are not actually vegan. They can put that on the label without being truthful either. For example, a well known company has slapped it on their label, however they use animal BYPRODUCT. Some have substituted dimethecone for… emu oil (in lame terms). Truly to be vegan, emu oil cannot be used but it doesn’t matter to them. They’ve hooked you with their label because technically an emu may not have to be killed to get their oils. HOWEVER, pricewise, a larger company will used post emu oil because it’s cheaper. Beeswax is a very common solidifier in a ton of applications, however it’s not vegan either! Pure emu oil that does not require the death of animals, runs around $200 per lb.

    There’s too many things to follow for vegan restrictions and so I do not specifically search it out to provide it because I don’t want to do the false labeling. But not everyone is me, and there are a lot of people in my arena that sell at craft shows and consignment shops that are allowed to put whatever they want on those labels. As long as you have the weight listed within 99% of the product and you label city and state – those are the only labeling laws in the B&B area.

  • http://www.lavanila.com Naturelee

    I had a great experience with Lavanila products. They are the very best natural products I’ve used.